Liverpool came back from 1-0 down to win against Newcastle United 2-1, but it didn’t make a difference in their quest for the title as Manchester City successfully defeated West Ham United 2-0
Newcastle stunned the home team in the first half when they went ahead after Martin Skrtel managed to put the ball in the wrong net. The away side was nicely organized through the first half and the starting minutes of the second half. Philippe Coutinho was brought on and it made quite a difference for the Reds as he injected creativity and urgency in the game. Liverpool hit back with two quick-fire goals, in identical fashion, as Daniel Agger and Daniel Sturridge latched on to two Steven Gerrard’s free kick deliveries, but it mattered little in the end to the destination of the title.
Jordan Henderson, whose presence in the team was definitely missed in the last three matches, started in place of Lucas. The midfielder, who enjoyed a tremendous season himself, was delighted with Liverpool’s win.
“It was important to finish the season with a win today because you never know what will happen. But we’ve come such a long way this season. Though there is obviously some disappointment – we thought we were good enough to win the title. But we’ll come back stronger next season. There has been a lot of tension here in the last fortnight, with a young squad going for the title. But it wasn’t to be this season, though we’re still very proud”, said the Liverpool midfielder
The Liverpool manager, clearly pleased with his side’s showing this season said
“Well it’s been brilliant, we have been on an incredible journey this year to finish with 12 wins out of 14 and a draw is an incredible achievement by the players,” Rodgers told Sky Sports News.
“That was a tough game for us today a great way to finish, unfortunately we didn’t get the title, but we have shown great hope for the future going forward.
“It is a huge privilege for me to be the manager here and like you say this is a club where we helped the supporters dream this year and I think now after this season the team is on the up and our idea to continue with this momentum and with their support it will mean everything for us.
“Of course to get to the top four, that was the aim. We felt a real compliment that people seen us challenging, we have played some fantastic football, we scored over a 100 goals, and for a team at this level is an incredible achievement. We know the areas we can improve on and obviously we will look to support the squad in the summer and then hopefully go again and we will be better next year.”
Rodgers also refused suggestions that his side failed to deal with the pressure of the title race after having led the table with three games to play.
“Sometimes that happens, I don’t think anyone can say we failed to cope with the pressure. In the last 14 games of the season we won 12, we drew one and obviously we had an unfortunate result here against Chelsea where they defended very, very well and we were just unable to get the result.
“But the players, in this run, gave us a chance to be winning the title. It has been an incredible run for us.
“12 wins out of 14 shows this is a group that can cope with pressure and we will learn from anything that we need to from the last part of this season to take into next season.”
Rodgers also hailed champions Manchester City, but is confident his side will improve next season.
“We have come second to an outstanding squad. Congratulations to Manchester City for winning the league. They have an excellent manager and a group of world-class players so congratulations to them.
“We have taken them all the way to the very last game of the season, a team that finished seventh last year and we know we will get better because we have got a lot of improvements to make in the squad and we will continue to grow and improve.”
Steven Gerrard, Liverpool’s talismanic captain is going to turn 34 in the coming weeks and might be thinking that his realistic shot at winning the league is truly over. It was his slip against Chelsea, that has been the ultimate low of the season for him. But the club and England captain is mature enough to get past it and help Liverpool continue on this resurgent path. He said that Liverpool are now title contenders for next season, but would need to add to the squad in the coming transfer window.
“If someone had said to me that we would go into the last game with a slim chance of winning the league I’d have taken that at the start of the season. But as a footballer you always want more”, said Gerrard
“We have been unlucky – we gave it a great shot, but we fell a little bit short. But what do we do? We dust ourselves down and go again.
“It took me until I’m 33 to really experience a proper, genuine title race. This squad is very young, and the experience those lads are going to gain from this rollercoaster is going to be very important. I believe the title is not too far away if we continue to produce performances like we have done this season.
“Before this season the manager gave us the top four as a target – I don’t think that’ll be his target next season, and it certainly won’t be the players’. We’ve proved this season that we’re capable of mixing it with the best and we want another title race, and we want to go one better next year.
“If we add to this team and the squad in the right areas we are capable of challenging. Things have changed here – the supporters know that and the players know that.
“We are genuine title contenders before a ball is kicked next year, and we need to go and prove that we’re the top side in the league over 38 games, and not second.”
Liverpool indeed have come a far way this season. People were still skeptical of their chances at qualifying for the Champions league, let alone expect them to be fighting it out for the title. The Liverpool management would look to add to their squad next season as the club would need much more depth to be competing in four competitions and at the highest level. The important thing for the club would be to sustain this effort and make this challenge again next season and many seasons after that.